Some of these challenges are already well-known. Though imperfect fixes emerge, no one ever seems to manage a response that solves the problem for good. For offroad enthusiasts, one such challenge is getting unstuck…from mud, sand and rocky trails. People variously employ recovery straps, winches, ropes and chains, but these can fail. They break, form impossible-to-salvage knots, and even snap, flying back into a windshield, hood, or person.
Believing that operator safety and equipment survival are non-negotiables, we set out to solve this recovery strap failure issue. Perhaps it wasn’t the strap that was the problem, but the way in which it was connected to the towing vehicle?
That’s how Amanda Manufacturing engineers developed a durable, multi-functional, easy-to-use tow hook, the SpeedHook™ now sold as a flagship product by Amanda Products, our consumer products division.
Our engineers combined the strength of a closed loop hook and the accessibility of an open hook into a unified, expertly welded assembly. They designed the part to be easily attached or welded to trucks and off-road vehicles. It was also meant to withstand extreme force, in virtually any towing situation.
We guarantee this by using high-strength steel and employing four separate steel alloys for the tow hook’s component parts, each of which has its own story to tell.
The open hook: we employ high-strength, high-carbon steel wire, drawing it to size, then bending, coining and piercing it. We then heat treat it for strength. Did we mention our mig welds are at 400% of necessary strength? This allows a tested towing capacity of more than 10,000 pounds, more than enough for safe recovery operations of any off-road vehicle.
The closed loop: we start with high-strength, medium carbon coil steel, draw it to size and bend it, all in a 150-ton press. We then weld it at two points to the entire assembly. This part just by itself can withstand extreme force, as its towing capacity is more than 60,000 pounds.
The receiver: we use high-strength, low alloy steel to produce the receiver and pin. This long, hollow, square part attaches to any vehicle with a 2” receiver. This allows the tow hook to be portable, though welding it to the respective vehicle is also a good option.
Though we designed the SpeedHook™ with efficiency and durability at top of mind and to solve a common consumer problem, its final assembly presented its own challenge.
Amanda Manufacturing has always been known by leading automakers for its strong welding capacity. Not only do we meet required strength targets, we generally aim to exceed them to increase product strength and reduce part failure. Our design target for this part was 400% above the welding requirement. We were committed to this marker for customer safety and enhanced performance, even though it also meant additional time and cost.
Even better, in developing a solution to this consumer problem, we ended up inventing a new welding process. The SpeedHook™ was the first part produced in an American factory using two simultaneously operating welding torches, on a dual-headed robot, employing two independent power supplies and performing two independent welds at the same time.
Although this method can now be found in other manufacturing facilities, at the time, we were the first factory to use it. Our technique advancement was even noticed by Panasonic, the creator of the welding machine itself. One of their engineers came from Japan to learn how we had retrofitted the welder to perform these dual, independent welding functions.
Solving a customer problem and inventing a new welding technique in the process was already exciting, but taking it, as part of the new Amanda Products division, to The SEMA Show in Las Vegas was a phenomenal experience. The offroaders we met there were impressed by our ingenious design and we even received a SEMA Global Media Award, a highly sought-after recognition in the specialty equipment manufacturing community.
Innovative techniques and creative problem-solving skills, all while embodying efficiency and ensuring continued quality: that’s the Amanda Manufacturing secret. That’s why our customers, from major automakers to small shops come back to us, again and again.